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Throw-In Play Nets Slam

  by Richard Pavlicek

Stanley Friedberg of Hollywood was a member of the team that represented Florida in the North American Team Championship held last month in Toronto. Regretfully, I cannot report a victory; but just reaching the continent-wide level is a major achievement. On today’s deal, from Toronto, Friedberg bid to the hilt and brought home a difficult contract.

6 S South
None Vul
S K 3
H A J 5 4
D A J 7 5
C A 4 2
2 D
2 NT
4 NT
4 C
6 S
S 2
H 10 9
D Q 10 9 8 6 4 3
C K 10 8
TableS 7 6 5
H K 8 7 2
C J 9 7 6 3

Lead: H 10
S A Q J 10 9 8 4
H Q 6 3
D 2
C Q 5

West’s opening bid was a weak two-bid (6-11 HCP and a six-card or longer suit) and North overcalled in notrump. This caused Friedberg, South, to become ambitious. He envisioned a slam contract in spades, and his jump to four clubs was the Gerber convention to ask for aces. West doubled (a decision he would later regret) to show an honor in clubs in case his partner became the opening leader. North showed three aces, and South placed the final contract.

West chose the passive lead of the heart 10 and declarer rose with dummy’s ace — clearly, East held the heart king and the lead might have been a singleton. Two rounds of trumps were drawn with the ace and king, then a low heart was led from dummy. East was obliged to duck (else establish two heart winners) and South’s queen won. The fall of West’s nine convinced declarer that East held the remaining hearts so declarer looked elsewhere for his 12th trick.

The location of the club king was marked from West’s double, and declarer attempted to put West under pressure by running all of his trumps, reducing everyone to four cards. West kept Q-10 in diamonds and K-10 in clubs; Dummy kept A-J in diamonds and A-4 in clubs.

Declarer then executed a throw-in play by winning the diamond ace and exiting with a diamond (discarding his remaining heart). West did not enjoy this trick, for he was forced to lead away from his club king and give declarer his contract.

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© 1986 Richard Pavlicek